MANAMA, Bahrain, Dec. 30, 2016 —
The French anti-air frigate FS Forbin joined U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's (NAVCENT) Task Force (CTF) 50 on Dec. 27.
The integration of FS Forbin marks the first time a French unit has integrated with the task force while being led by the Royal Navy. The French previously led CTF 50 last December, commanding it from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle.
"Forbin is committed to working together with the U.S. and Royal Navy," said Capt. Christophe Cluzel, commander of Forbin. "France continues to value the partnerships with our allies in order to protect the maritime domain."
Forbin is joining U.S. ships USS Hopper (DDG 70), USS Mahan (DDG 72), and U.K. ships HMS Ocean (L 12) and HMS Daring (D 32). The U.S., French and Royal Navy are working together in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
CTF 50 is currently led by Commodore Andrew Burns, commander of the Amphibious Task Group, embarked on the U.K.'s large-deck amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean.
"I am delighted that FS Forbin will be operating as part of CTF 50 and looking forward to the contribution she will make to ongoing U.S., U.K. and French maritime security operations in the Gulf," said Burns. "Her integration will reinforce our already strong bonds and advance the progress in interoperability made to date."
CTF 50 will lead a multilateral exercise early next year, Unified Trident, encompassing other NAVCENT CTFs as well as French and Royal Navy assets. The exercise is intended to enhance mutual capabilities, improve tactical proficiency and strengthen partnerships in ensuring the free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation.
NAVCENT is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. NAVCENT's mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nation's maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.